Despite the Thiruvananthapuram railway division’s tall claims that passenger trains in the division are running on time, inordinate delays have been reported in the Ernakulam-Kottayam sector in the past two weeks. According to passengers, trains are being delayed by more than an hour in major stations like Ernakulam South and Kottayam.
V Pillai, a daily passenger said that the Kottayam-Ernakulam passenger train which is supposed to depart from Kottayam station at 5.15 pm has been arriving at the station nearly fourty minutes later then the scheduled time.
“The train is then forced to halt for another ten to fifteen minutes to accommodate the other Express trains. By the time the train reaches Ernakulam, it is very late. This makes things extremely difficult for the women passengers who reach the station late in the night”, he said.
Passengers allege that the division is paying scant regard to passenger trains. Also, the Ernakulam-Kottayam passenger train which is supposed to leave the Ernakulam railway station at 7.30 am is delayed inordinately. “The passenger trains are halted to clear the way for Express trains like Korba and Shalimar. This is acceptable to a certain extent.
“However, it is unfair if no action is being taken to rectify this. Passenger train commuters are mostly employed persons who need to reach their destination on time”, said Kunjumol, who is employed in Ernakulam. Most of the delays reportedly occur when the trains reach Mullanthuruthy and Piravom.
“The trains are already late when they depart from the Kottayam or Ernakulam stations. When they reach Mullanthuruthy or Piravom, they are again held up”, another passenger said. Since the trains are halted at the second platform at Mullanthuruthy and Piravom, it is becoming a major issue for the passengers. “By the time the train reaches the station, a goods train would be parked by the first platform. The passengers have to crawl under the train to reach the platform”, Kunjumol added.
Passengers admit that the passenger trains used to be quite punctual till a few months ago. Ernakulam Area Manager P L Ashok Kumar said that that the doubling work at the Piravom-Mullanthuruthy sector is resulting in the delay of passenger trains.
“We have accelerated the work in this sector, and we had to bring down the speed of trains in this sector. We are hoping to complete the work soon. Till the work is over, this may be an issue for the passengers”, he said.